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The emulator is running. Thank you all for your help. The error is weird enough that I am posting the solution so it may help other users.

To identify the problem, I copied my installation of ePSXe to a Vista virtual machine. It asked for zlib1.dll. I downloaded a copy into the ePSXe directory and the emulator worked. Then I copied the file to the real computer and got the emulator working. The funny thing is that I never got an error indicating that zlib1 was missing, so I ran a search for zlib1.dll on the hard disk and found several copies (sizes 55, 59, 74, 76 and 79 KB, versions 1.2.2.0 to 1.2.3.2027 and 5.2.3.0!) in the "Program Files" directory. One of them was in the $PATH$, namely "C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2007b\bin\win32" THIS was the root cause of the problem. This dll said it is version 1.2.2.0 but is completely different from the others with the same size and version number. Way to go mathworks.

The conclusion is that if you have MATLAB installed (at least the 2007b version) you need to have a copy of zlib1.dll in the emulator directory. The one that comes with MATLAB is no compatible with ePSXe, or anything else for that matter. Perhaps, the development team of ePSXe should consider including zlib1.dll in the release package to avoid errors like this in the future.
 
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